Edi Gathegi Cast as Darwin in X-Men: First Class

Twilight vampire Edi Gathegi has signed on to join the cast of Matthew Vaughn‘s X-Men: First Class, according to Deadline. Edi will be playing the mutant named Darwin, who was originally created by writer Ed Brubaker and artist Pete Woods. He first appeared in X-Men: Deadly Genesis #2, and according to Marvel’s reference website, has “limitless mutation abilities being in a state of continual reaction, adapting to whatever his current situation demands.”

“For example, if placed in total darkness his eyes automatically adapt to allow him to see; if underwater he grows functioning gills; if exposed to fire his body becomes fireproof; if falling, his bones soften & his body elasticizes to cushion his landing; or if exposed to the void of space, he stops requiring oxygen & the density of his skin & internal structure increase.”

From Wikipedia, here is a look at the character’s comic backstory:

After birth, Darwin’s powers of self-protection and continuous circumstantial evolution made his mother hate him. The half-Black, half-Latino Darwin[1] was found by some scientists who experimented on Darwin, bringing him to the attention of the public. He was found by Moira MacTaggert and recruited as one of her “fosters.” He was in the first team, along with Kid Vulcan, Petra, and Sway to attempt to rescue the X-Men from Krakoa. While Petra and Sway were killed by Krakoa, Darwin and Vulcan were swallowed in the earth by a combination of Sway and Petra’s dying powers. Darwin absorbed the remains of the two girls and then converted himself into energy to fuse together with Vulcan. This gave Vulcan the powers of Darwin, Petra, and Sway. Rachel Summers managed to expel Darwin’s presence from Vulcan, who then took off for space. While dealing with the shocking revelations of the truth about Krakoa and Vulcan, Beast found out that Darwin was still in fact alive. He was brought back to the Institute, where Beast determined Darwin is now a being of pure energy. While not conscious, he was shown to still have brain activity and was still alive, located at the X-Mansion. Once separated from Vulcan, Darwin’s abilities caused him to develop a physical form once more.

Gathegi got his start on Crank playing “Haitian Cabbie”, and had a 7-episode run on House M.D. He later appeared in Death Sentence, Gone Baby Gone, before playing the evil vampire Laurent in Twilight and New Moon.

Previously:

In case you’re confused, here is the official casting thus far:

  • James McAvoy is Charles Xavier aka Professor X
  • Nicholas Hoult has been cast as Dr. Henry Philip “Hank” McCoy aka Beast
  • Michael Fassbender (Inglourious Basterds, Hunger) is playing Eric Lensherr aka Magneto
  • Alice Eve, the lead actress from She’s Out of My League, was in talks with Fox to play Emma Frost.
  • Caleb Landry Jones (Friday Night Lights, The Longshots, The Last Exorcism) is Sean Cassidy aka Banshee.
  • 19-year-old actor Lucas Till (Walk the Line, Dance of the Dead, Hannah Montana: The Movie, The Spy Next Door, and the upcoming Battle: Los Angeles) is Alexander “Alex” Summers aka Havok, the younger brother of the X-Men’s Cyclops.
  • Kevin Bacon (Mystic River, Apolo 13, Sleepers) will play the villain (no name revealed thus far, although its rumored to be Sebastian Shaw)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (Winter’s Bone) will play Mystique

And here is a list of the unconfirmed casting rumors:

  • Pride & Prejudice/Surrogates star Rosamund Pike is in talks to play Moira McTaggert.
  • Spider-Man shortlist actor Frank Dillane may also be up for a role.
  • Surfer Erica Hosseini auditioned for the role of Willow.
  • Kick-Ass star Aaron Johnson might be in line for the role oc Cyclops. EW claims the rumor is untrue.

Matthew Vaughn beat out eight directors to take the helm. Bryan Singer was originally attached to return to the X-Men franchise to helm this new film, but his commitment to Jack The Giant Killer at Warner Bros will prevent him from directing. Singer’s treatment was a Str Trek-style reboot/prequel, which will focus on “the formative years of Xavier and Magneto, and the formation of the school and where there [sic] relationship took a wrong turn.” Singer has previously admitted that First Class would “probably utilize some of the [planned/announced X-Men Origins:] Magneto story because it deals with a young Magneto,” and that “it might supersede” that plan because this new movie would explore “that relationship between a young energetic professor and a disenfranchised victim of the Holocaust.”

“It’s basically about the formation of the X-Men. How they began and the relationship between a young Xavier and a young Magneto.”

Here is the official plot synopsis:

X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, following the classic Marvel mythology, charts the epic beginning of the X-Men saga.  Before Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr took the names Professor X and Magneto, they were two young men discovering their powers for the first time. Before they were archenemies, they were closest of friends, working together, with other Mutants (some familiar, some new), to stop the greatest threat the world has ever known. In the process, a rift between them opened, which began the eternal war between Magneto’s Brotherhood and Professor X’s X-Men.

The day after Jamie Moss handed in his first draft, Fox head Tom Rothman fast-tracked the project.  It was at this moment that Warner Bros informed Singer that they would not delay the production of Jack and the Giant Killer. Singer will still produce the project. I’ve heard the script is solid, and everyone who has read it is excited to make it. Fox is scouting locations in West Michigan.  The film is set to go into production this Summer, and the studio has set a June 3rd 2011 release date.

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